venerdì 6 febbraio 2015

Belgrade 2016 qualification gets underway

Starting Friday the long road to the Belgrade 2016 European Championships will start for men's and women's teams not able to finish with the top 8 or top 5 at the last 2014 European Championships in Budapest. Two mini tournament will see plenty of opportunities for new teams to step in as the 2016 edition of Europe's continental championship hold an extended range of participants as now 16 men's and 12 women's teams will play for the top honours. In 4 men's groups, played across Europe, the sides that did participate in Budapest last summer can be considered favourite to claim their spot at the 2016 championships as well. But apart from Georgia, Russia, Germany and France, the question will be which 'new' sides could join them to the final round. 

First up however is this weekend's first round, followed by an other, 2nd round, mid-October after which the cumulative best 8 sides will qualify for the championships. The same goes for the women although here it will be the top 6 sides who join the 6 directly qualified teams, including hosts Serbia.
 In this case the top 5 from the 2014 championships qualified directly meaning 2011 world champions Greece, who finished a dissapointing 6th, will have to play qualification. The Greek women were drawn in group B and will play Croatia, Israel and Germany over the weekend in Zagreb.

Qualification Tournament
Round 1


Group A (in Tbilisi, Georgia)

Friday, 6 February
18.45: Georgia vs. Slovakia
20.00: Portugal vs. Switzerland

Saturday, 7 February
17.00: Slovakia vs. Portugal
18.45: Georgia vs. Switzerland

Sunday, 8 February
10.00: Switzerland vs. Slovakia
11.45: Georgia vs. Portugal

Group B (in Gorzow, Poland)

Friday, 6 February
17.00: Ukraine vs. Israel
18.30: Poland vs. Russia

Saturday, 7 February
17.00: Russia vs. Ukraine
18.30: Poland vs. Israel

Sunday, 8 February

09.00: Russia vs. Israel
10.30: Poland vs. Ukraine

Group C (in Utrecht, Netherlands)

Friday, 6 February
19.45: Netherlands vs. Latvia
21.15: France vs. Malta

Saturday, 7 February
15.15: Netherlands vs. Malta
16.45: France vs. Latvia

Sunday, 8 February
12.15: Malta vs. Latvia
13.45: Netherlands vs. France

Group D (in Istanbul, Turkey)

Friday, 6 February
18.00: Germany vs. Lithuania
19.30: Turkey vs. Belarus

Saturday, 7 February
18.00: Turkey vs. Lithuania
19.30: Belarus vs. Germany

Sunday, 8 February
12.00: Lithuania vs. Belarus
13.30: Turkey vs. Germany

* Live streaming of all group D matches available, click here.

Hosts in round 2 (9-11 October, 2015): Russia, Israel, France and Malta.

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